It was at high school that Marina Zivkovic first picked up a camera. Using the school’s darkroom, she learnt the basics including how to develop film. But a more academic focus during her later years saw her drop visual art and drama for chemistry and three-unit economics. At university, she went on to study psychology, law, and education. “Creativity always took a back seat much to the detriment of my soul,” she says. It was the birth of her son that led her full circle and back to photography, and it’s morphed into a creative journey. “I’ve always loved portraits,” Zivkovic says. “I used to paint them and now I photograph them, but what I love about digital is that I can take a shot, or I can transform it.” Zivkovic relies on her painting and lighting knowledge as well as her theatre background as an actor, even if subconsciously, to create, capture, and to experiment. “I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what can be done,” she says.
Gravitating towards dark images, dark backgrounds, and dramatic theatrical lighting, Zivkovic says she’s fascinated with Rembrandt lighting. It was this fascination that was the spark that led to the creation of her series, Human: A Work in Progress. Her style is also influenced by a strong interest in art history, theatre, and psychology. Depending on her subject, Zivkovic says she makes a decision whether to take a portrait, or create an artwork and rely on compositing. “It’s a free-for-all for my creativity whereas if it’s a single capture I may be more concerned with photographic technique and elements,” she says. “When I let my creativity run wild, I’m probably not as concerned with technique, and I make no apology for that.”
Zivkovic’s formal studies were undertaken at TAFE’s Nepean Art and Design Centre completing the Certificate IV equivalent in 2015, after which she started her business, Marinagraphia. She also went on to study for a diploma, graduating in May 2018 and receiving the Most Outstanding Student award.
In 2017, Zivkovic was named AIPP NSW Student Photographer of the Year. The same year, a self-portrait image was published in Capture’s The Annual. In 2018, she was named in the Top 10 of the Student category for Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers. She held her first solo exhibition, Human: A Work in Progress, as part of the Head On Festival in 2018.